Pope Francis condemns indifference of authorities to refugee crisis

Pope Francis performs a blessing at the start of the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican March 20, 2016. | REUTERS / Tony Gentile

Pope Francis has condemned authorities who continue to act indifferent towards the ongoing refugee crisis.

Pope Francis spoke about the poor response of authorities to the refugee crisis. The pontiff likened the situation to the time that Jesus Christ was denied justice when he was crucified, Christian Today reports.

The pope told the thousands of Christians present at St. Peter's Square during the Palm Sunday Mass that Jesus also became the victim of indifference when his followers abandoned him before the crucifixion. He likened the situation to the present suffering of the more than 1.1 million refugees who fled the chaos from their homeland and sought asylum in Europe.

"I am thinking of so many other people, so many marginalised people, so many asylum seekers, so many refugees," said Pope Francis. "There are so many who don't want to take responsibility for their destiny."

The statement was clearly a reference to the migration debate among European nations. He described how Jesus was humiliated, mocked, insulted, beaten up, and given a crown of thorns. Francis said the crucifixion was also a form of "disgraceful condemnation" by the authorities at that time, the Associated Press relays.

"Even as every form of justice is denied to him, Jesus also experiences in his own flesh indifference, since no one wishes to take responsibility for his fate," the pope added.

Instead of helping the refugees settle in another place, some European countries responded to the crisis by closing up their borders. The move left thousands of migrants stranded in Greece. In addition, a new deal mandates that those who travel to Greece illegally will be deported to Turkey. The deal, which was created to fight smuggling, was supposed to take effect on Sunday.

Pope Francis led the waving of olive branches to mark the opening of the Holy Week before he started the Mass at St. Peter's Square. After that, he toured around the square on his popemobile to greet the people who came to celebrate Palm Sunday.